Should the CJI be part of the committee selecting the CEC?

Source: The post is based on the article “Should the CJI be part of the committee selecting the CEC?” published in The Hindu on 25th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Election commission

News: The article discusses a new Bill proposing changes to the selection panel for the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) in India. Critics argue that replacing the Chief Justice of India with a Cabinet Minister on the panel could compromise the Election Commission’s independence.

What are the major provisions of the CEC and Other ECs (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023?

Read HereAppointments to the Election Commission – Proposed changes

What are the major concerns related to this bill?

Neutrality Concern: The Bill proposes a Cabinet Minister, nominated by the Prime Minister, in the selection panel instead of the Chief Justice of India. This means two members from the ruling government on the panel, raising concerns about the panel’s impartiality.

Bill vs Supreme Court’s Intention: While the Bill follows the Supreme Court’s directive to enact a law for appointments, critics argue it misses the Court’s intended spirit, especially regarding ensuring the Election Commission’s independence from the executive.

Status Downgrade of CEC: The Bill equates the CEC’s salary to that of the Cabinet Secretary instead of a Supreme Court judge. Despite similar pay, this change is viewed as a potential status dilution.

EC Independence: There are concerns that the new system might make the Election Commission more susceptible to executive influence.

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